The Garment Manufactures Association in Cambodia has issued a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen pleading for container trucks detained by authorities during an ongoing crackdown on illegally modified trucks to be allowed back on the roads because their seizure has affected imports and exports.
Last Friday, Mr Hun Sen ordered that overloaded trucks be taken off the road, saying they caused accidents, destroyed roads and caused public disorder.
Authorities quickly jumped into action, seizing trucks that had modified cages to allow for overloading, and also container trucks longer than 16 metres, the legal length.
According to the GMAC letter, the association has received complaints from member factories saying that their trucks, some of which are 18 metres and therefore illegal, have been taken off the roads, which has impacted upon their supply chain.
In a letter issued on Tuesday, GMAC asked the premier to instruct authorities to allow the 18-metre trucks back on the roads temporarily while their members work to modify them back to the legal length.
GMAC chairman Van Sou Ieng said in the letter that allowing the trucks back on the road temporarily would enable factories to continue their work without interruption and ensure wages owed to workers were not affected.
“This issue is a new threat to garment manufactures in Cambodia,” he said in the letter. “The strict implementation of laws recently has possibly affected 50 percent of imports and exports.”
Mr Sou Ieng noted that GMAC would ensure factory owners re-modify the trucks back to their legal lengths if they allowed back on the roads.
According to a report from the Ministry of Transport released yesterday, more than 770 trucks, some of which have illegal modified cages or lengths, have been seized during the ongoing crackdown.
Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said yesterday that container trucks used by the garment industry have been lengthened in order to increase their loads.
“Some container trucks are 18 metres long. This is against the law, causes traffic jams and allows for overloading, which destroys roads,” he said.
Vasim Sorya, spokesman for the ministry, said yesterday that no order has been handed down from the government to allow the container trucks back on the road.
“The ministry saw the GMAC letter,” he said. “But until now, the ministry has not been given any instruction from the government to respond. So, the ministry will continue to implement the law until told otherwise.”
Mr Chanthol in the past said that a truck overloaded by ten tonnes was equivalent to 10,000 cars driving on the road, which causes extensive damage.
“The government spends $200 million on repairing the roads every year,” he said.
The ministry’s annual report said a total of 2,646 overloaded trucks were fined nearly $1.3 million in 2017.